The great Wisconsin outdoors are a lot of things: beauty, sport and, jointly, relaxation. For many, boating and beer go hand in hand.
A lot of people in Wisconsin integrate synonyms into their spoken and written communications. They do so because using the same words over and over can be repetitive and just plain boring. Words that seem synonymous, however, can sometimes have varying meanings. In terms of two Wisconsin drunk driving charges, two words that appear to have similar connotations can lead to two different criminal charges.
A commercial driver's license allows a driver to haul and contract to haul freight and goods on roads throughout Wisconsin and the rest of the country. Because commercial drivers often have to travel long distances and in some cases carry heavy loads in their vehicles, they are regulated by federal laws in terms of when and how long they can operate without rest. States like Wisconsin also regulate commercial drivers and impose penalties on them when they are suspected of drinking and driving.
The potential consequences of a DUI arrest in Wisconsin are serious. Although a DUI first offense is not a criminal offense, a conviction can result in license suspension and hefty fines. A blood alcohol concentration of 0.15 or above, or a conviction of DUI with a minor passenger can result in mandatory installation of an ignition interlock device in your vehicle. Second and subsequent offenses can result in a jail sentence and an ignition interlock device.
A Wisconsin drunk driving stop can happen very quickly. One moment a Wisconsin driver is traveling down the road and in the next, his rearview mirror is filled with the flashing lights of a squad car. A thousand thoughts can run through a driver's head as he waits for the officer to approach his window.
In many situations when a Wisconsin resident is stopped on suspicion of drunk driving, he must encounter a law enforcement official. The police officer or sheriff's deputy that he encounters is generally the one who initiated the stop of the driver and is the individual who will assess whether the driver is under the influence of alcohol. In a recent Wisconsin news story, a sheriff's deputy found himself on the other side of the squad car, facing drunk driving accusations and in the shoes of a suspected drunk driver.
There are a variety of penalties that a Wisconsin resident may face if he or she is convicted of drunk driving. Depending upon whether the conviction is his first, second or one of several more, he or she can face fines, jail time, the suspension or revocation of his license and other sanctions. Some drivers also are subjected to DUI schools, also known as alcohol education programs.
Prior posts on this blog have discussed how Wisconsin addresses first-time drunk driving offenses. Wisconsin is the only state in the country that does not criminalize first time DUI charges. Critics from inside and outside the state's borders have condemned this practice as merely a slap on the wrist for what some consider a dangerous behavior.
Facing a drunk driving crime in Wisconsin can be damaging to a person's reputation and well-being. When the charge forces a person to surrender his license or pay a high fine, the financial health of the individual and his family can be directly impacted. When the accusation is more serious and imprisonment is a potential penalty, the individual can face losing his rights and spending substantial time behind bars.
Just as Wisconsin drivers can face drunk driving charges while traveling out of state, non-Wisconsin residents can also face similar charges while driving through the Badger State. During holidays and other periods of peak travel, motorists can find themselves facing criminal charges for allegedly operating their vehicles while under the influence of alcohol. When local or out-of-state drivers find themselves facing Wisconsin DUI charges they sometimes seek the counsel of Wisconsin DUI defense lawyers.